69 million page views

I need more convincing

Reader comment on item: [The Search for Moderate Islam:] A Reply to Lawrence Auster

Submitted by Kevin Graham (Brazil), Mar 31, 2005 at 07:55

In showing how Islam can be moderate, and obtain variant interpretations of the Quran, Dan provides the example of Sudanese reformer Mahmoud Muhammad Taha. Dan says these interpretations are "there for the taking," but who in their right mind would do so, given the fact that this reformer was murdererd for adopting them? This cuts to the heart of the issue.

Surely people can invent variant interpretations of just about anything. I don't think that is really a point of debate. Whether or not it is feasible to put these reforming ideas into practice in an environment such as Islam, is the question. The problem with Islam is tends to foster monolithic mass opinion and it universally shuns free thinking. Further, the Muslim sense of an unchanging, inerrant Quran is one of their main selling points. For them, that is what makes Islam better than Christianity, which, according to them, has changed with the wind according to variant interpretations and translations of the Bible. Muslims typically boast that the Quran is so holy that it has NEVER been changed because Allah would not allow it. So for a Muslim to concede the point and insist the Quran should be interpreted in light of new interpretations - or even worse, considerations of western expectations - well, is it any wonder the Islamic reformers of the last century can be counted on one hand?

Here are other examples of "reformers" speaking their mind. Muslim liberal Farag Foda was murdered in June 1992 by a mob for sharing his reforming ideas, and Sheikh Ahmad Ghazali from Al-Azhar testified on behalf of the murderer, insisting what was done was just according to Islam. Ala' Hamid was jailed, as was his publisher for printing an essay that the majority at Al-Azhar didn't like. He said, "My only crime is that I allowed myself to think." Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, another free thinker who spoke his mind, had his marriage dissolved on Sharia grounds that a Muslim woman couldn't remained married to an apostate. The repercussions always outweigh the benefits for those free thinking Muslims, which is why I need more convincing that Islam could ever see a meaningful "reform."

It cannot be over emphasized that nowhere on this planet can a Muslim feel secure in his reforming ideas. Even in the United States former or reforming Muslims are being persecuted or killed for their so-called "blasphemy" against Islam. And if we assume American Muslims can lead the way to reform, we have to remember that the 2-4 million American Muslims represent less than .5% of global Islam, and even there we have to deal with the fact that 80% of American Mosques are Wahhabi controlled. Where is a moderate voice? No. Where are those "influencial" moderate voices?
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to I need more convincing by Kevin Graham

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)